Before, I thought guns gave you respect. Now I know respect means treating someone well, and them doing the same.
— David, former child soldier
David spent a year in the Black Eagles, a notorious paramilitary group focused on fighting left-wing guerrillas and making money through drug trafficking and extortion. He'd stopped going to school after third grade, and was tending cows on his brother's farm when the Black Eagles lured him into their group with the promise of money. Now 17, he’s enrolled in vocational-school classes, enjoys playing fútbol and dreams of becoming a veterinarian.
Learn more about how Mercy Corps is helping Colombia's child soldiers start over in our special report: Reclaiming children of war.